Something New Sunday: Steaming Asparagus

27Sep09

Steaming vegetables is deceptively difficult. I’ve tried it several different ways, carefully following “foolproof” instructions from all my cookbooks, but never was very successful. My veggies are always too done or not done enough. Even my chef brother (he’s not a professional, but he is the “cook” of the family) admits it’s a tough technique to master. Enter my mother-in-law whose wisdom has entered my life to save my veggies from over/under steaming! After having some of her incredible steamed asparagus (my favorite veggie to steam), I had to know just how she had done it, and she was kind enough to send me the secret in a text message:

“Asparagus. Wash & trim. Boil 1 inch or so salted water n skillet. Cook for 10 min or so. Butter, salt, pepper to taste.”

I did happen to watch a little of her technique when she actually made the asparagus so I had some inkling of what this technique looked like. I boiled 1 inch of water in my smaller shallow skillet, the kind I use to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Once that was boiling nicely, I laid the asparagus across the skillet, and let it sit for ten minutes. On this first attempt, the center of my asparagus was in the water, but I think the next time I’ll try to keep them just hovering over the water. The centers of the stalks came out kind of soggy because of this, but they were still tasty. I laid the steamed asparagus on a plate, put about 1 Tblsp of butter over the center and salted and peppered generously because us Atchleys are generous people.

This was the easiest most successful way I have found to steam veggies. If you have any other techniques, tips and tricks of the trade, leave some comments. I’m always looking to learn new things in the kitchen!

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2 Responses to “Something New Sunday: Steaming Asparagus”

  1. I don’t steam my asparagus, though the instructions above do seem easy enough. I instead saute them in butter (maybe 2 tbs) garlic (about a clove chopped up and added once the aspargus is nearly cooked ( for me cooked is when they have been in heat for about 3 or 4 min and turn a bright beautiful green) and to help speed that along I add white wine. It’s a favorite at my house, in fact when I visit my parents house and my mom has planned to make asparagus she usually asks me to prepare them.

    When I’m feeling really excited in the kitchen (which is everday) I even add about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Delicious!

    • That sounds AMAZING! I’m a firm believer that garlic makes everything taste better (except maybe cake). I will definitely have to try this.


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